The book of Alma is full of many accounts of wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites. Captain Moroni, leader of the Nephite armies during that period reminds us of the difference between the Nephites and Lamanites. I believe that difference reflects the situation we find ourselves in today in Iraq and Afghanistan and, indeed, throughout the world in the war on terrorism.
At the beginning of Alma 44, a Lamanite army that sought to conquer the Nephites has been surrounded by the Nephite army. God has strengthened the Nephites and delivered the Lamanites into their hands. In verse 2, Moroni declares the following to Zerahemnah, the Lamanite commander:
"Behold, we have not come out to battle against you that we might shed your blood for power; neither do we desire to bring any one to the yoke of bondage. But this is the very cause for which ye have come against us; yea, and ye are angry with us because of our religion."
The U.S.-led coalition finds itself in the same situation today. We have no desire to conquer and control Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather, like Moroni, we are trying to defend free people from those who wish to bring the world into "the yoke of bondage."
Marcus Luttrell, a heroic Navy SEAL who fought in Afghanistan, confirmed this when he stated:
"Just like always, warlords were trying to drive out the usurpers. Us. And we weren't even usurping, just trying to stop another bloody tribal upheaval and another regime change from the elected to the dictators." (Lone Survivor, page 73)
Of course, we should always seek for peace. Jesus Christ taught, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God" (Matthew 5:9). However, we are also taught to defend freedom "even unto bloodshed" if necessary:
"And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion." (Alma 43:47)
Pray for peace, but be willing to fight when necessary to defend God-given freedom.